Higher education is arguably the best investment that you can make in your future. Unfortunately, over the last decade the rapidly rising costs of higher education has made it difficult for students and families to afford college. Student loans were created to help students and families finance the costs of higher education.


In 2016, the average graduate left campus with over $35,000 in student loan debt. That isn’t chump change. For most recent graduates $35,000 is a very significant amount of money. In our own lives, we know that student loans have had a dramatic impact on our decisions. Student loans feel like an inescapable weight for many of us, myself included.


This month we surveyed 1,220 college graduates holding student loan debt - either federal and/or private student loans. We asked respondents a series of questions to help us understand the impact of student debt.


We found that student loan debt is leaving a lasting impact on the financial, personal, and emotional lives of graduates. Student loans are a powerful tool, but the costs of student financing are going beyond just interest.


The results of our research are remarkably personal for our team at the Student Loan Report.


Student debt is impacting a generation’s ability to make important financial and life decisions:


Survey Results:

Does student loan debt affect your decision or ability to buy a home?


63% of respondents reported that student debt was affecting their decision or ability to buy a home.


Does student loan debt affect your decision or ability to save for retirement?


73% of respondents reported that student debt was affecting their decision or ability to save for retirement.


Does student loan debt affect your decision or ability to purchase a car?


47% of respondents reported that student debt was affecting their decision or ability to purchase a car.


Does student loan debt have a significant impact on your choice of employment?


41% of respondents reported that student debt has significant impact on their choice of employment.


Does student loan debt force you to put off or delay marriage?

28% of respondents reported that student debt has forced them to put off or delay marriage.

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Does student loan debt force you to put off or delay starting a family?


34% of respondents reported that student debt has forced them to put off or delay starting a family.


Are you embarrassed to talk about student loan debt with your friends, family, or significant other?


57% of respondents reported being embarrassed when talking about student debt with friends, family, or significant others.


Does student loan debt make it difficult for you to keep up with daily expenses?


41% of respondents reported that student debt is making it difficult to keep up with daily expenses.


Does student loan debt affect your decision or ability to start a startup or small business?


23% of respondents reported that student debt is affecting their decision or ability to start a startup or small business.


Does student loan debt delay your ability to take a vacation?


68% of respondents reported that student debt has restricted their ability to take a vacation.


Does student loan debt limit your ability to eat out?


49% of respondents reported that student debt has restricted their ability to eat out.


Does student loan debt keep you from social events with friends or family?


32% of respondents reported that student debt has hindered their ability to go to social events with friends or family.


The results are quite disappointing, but not surprising to our team. We know the pain of student debt ourselves and we are impacted on a daily basis.


Student debt is more than just a financial issue. Student debt has become an everyday issue. Marriages are delayed, vacations are postponed, and financial futures are being impacted by student debt.

The Class of 2020 should consider the true costs of student debt, beyond just interest expenses.


Survey Methodology


Student Loan Report conducted a survey of 1,220 U.S. college graduates (2 year, 4 year postgraduate or professional degree) who currently have student loan debt. The survey was conducted online between July 2nd and 19th, 2016. No specification was set whether those taking the survey had gone through student loan refinancing or not. 

Copyright 2016